Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers at St. Louis Blues

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Flyers

Since the comeback victory against the Boston Bruins on Monday night, the Philadelphia Flyers have had some setbacks of their own. Brad Marchand isn’t the only one who has his hands on the short end of the stick. The following practice, goaltender Carter Hart left the ice with an abdominal strain. In this time, the Flyers have recalled Alex Lyon from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms as he will be traveling with the team. Tonight, the regular season marches on as Philadelphia visits the St. Louis Blues.

It seems like each game since the Philadelphia Flyers have returned from their bad road trip has been against the cream of the crop in the NHL. Tonight is no different, as the St. Louis Blues are currently tied for first place in the NHL along with the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins. While the Flyers did defeat the Capitals and the Bruins at home, they will have to take that same effort on the road, which has been more than a challenge. The Blues are winners of nine straight home games while Philadelphia is winless in their last four road games. To add to their dominance, St. Louis is the only team to have not lost in regulation when scoring the first goal.

Brian Elliott will get the start tonight on the road in place of Carter Hart, who will be out for at most, three weeks. Jordan Binnington will start for the St. Louis Blues. Over the last ten games between the two franchises, they’re split at 5-5 against one another. The Blues have won the last two games in regulation, both by a margin of three goals or greater. On the injury report, St. Louis lists Carl Gunnarsson (IR) and Colton Parayko (IR).

St. Louis Blues – Skaters

Offensively, tonight’s storyline draws attention to a former Philadelphia Flyer on the St. Louis Blues, Brayden Schenn. He is second in scoring on the Blues this season, tallying 40 points. Schenn is proving to be almost as efficient at scoring goals on the powerplay as he is during even-strength hockey. Credit that to his shot selection, scoring on 17.7% of the shots he takes. Of his 40 points this season, 23 are assists.

Defensively, Alex Pietrangelo has been a superstar. The defenseman has contributed 38 points this season, which is good for fifth on the team. He’s a player that the Philadelphia Flyers need to give their attention to while on the penalty kill. The majority of his assists come on the powerplay and he is closing in on being as efficient with goal scoring on the powerplay. When in the defensive zone, he’s blocked 55 shots and dished 27 hits.

St. Louis Blues – Goaltending

Of the NHL teams tied for first place in the NHL right now, Jordan Binnington’s numbers may not leap out at you like Tuukka Rask or Braden Holtby. Binnington can be dominant. Almost two-thirds of his starts are quality starts. He totes a 91.7% save percentage and yields a goals against average of 2.47. The St. Louis Blues have the advantage in the net tonight.

Faceoff Possession

Both teams have a winning percentage in the faceoff circle that exceeds 50%. The St. Louis Blues are at 51.9% while the Philadelphia Flyers maintain 54.3%. On the Blues, the best faceoff opportunists are Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Bozak. For the Flyers, they look to Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Scott Laughton. The advantage here stays with Philadelphia.

Prediction

The Philadelphia Flyers are on the road and we all know that is where they struggle. With the recent injuries and line changes, the St. Louis Blues have more firepower. Looking at the goaltender matchup, the Blues are favored. If the Flyers want an opportunity to win tonight, they have to play nearly a perfect game. My prediction is that St. Louis gets the home win by more than one goal.

Puck drop is scheduled for 8 pm from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The money line favors the St. Louis Blues at -185 with an over-under set at 6. Follow me at EricReesePSN and Philly Sports Network at PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!

Mandatory Credit – © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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